We camels want bigger needles

18th April 2003 at 01:00
Peter Wilby doubts that Adam Swift's book on hypocrisy and school choice would be useful to parents (TES, March 21).

In my experience and that of friends in inner London, decisions about where to send children to secondary school are among the most difficult choices middle-class families face.

This may, as Wilby suggests, be because we are camels deep down, minimally concerned with needles, but that is not how it feels within these painful and emotional discussions.

Adam Swift's rigorous examination of when you can and cannot be legitimately partial to your own child's interests, at the expense of other children, is one of the best discussions of the issues raised by school choice I have read.

It is, in my view, an enormously helpful contribution to parents caught between differing and equally powerful concerns for family, community and social justice.

Reading it suggests ways to shrink the camel or grow the needle, and, in the light of the kind of dialogues across different types of school that London's new schools commissioner Tim Brighouse is suggesting, points to a new form of politics of engagement, not simple blame.

Elaine Unterhalter

School of educational foundations and policy studies

Institute of Education

London University

20 Bedford Way, London WC1

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now